I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

September 30, 1997 hey! big news! it's important to me, at least: tonight marks my return to radio after almost three years! given the, ahm, unique state of WMCP when I left it, some would say that tonight is my radio debut. but I don't rate that at all cos Rory (my once and future radio collaborator) says that he heard that someone did actually hear us once when we were doing dramatic readings in latin. so there. now that semantics are over with, I'd like to issue a formal warning to everyone to vacate the frequency 90.1 fm come midnight tonight because I call it. it's mine until 2 am. fair's fair, darnit. I'm substituting on the hardcore metal show (you know me...I'm all, um, distorted and stuff...) so if you're in the C-U area and don't mind the noise that kids these days are listening to, turn on your radio and tune in! we'll take care of the dropping out part.

my little brother is very sorry about the chain letter thing. actually, truth be told I suspect that he feels no remorse and will be killing you all shortly.

not to enter a complaining mode, but my mailbox is stuck. and no one at the landlord's office seems overly concerned. god, if my psychic hadn't assured me that this was all for the best, I don't know what I'd do. go straight out of my mind, I guess. voting on the $68 athletic fee thing ended today - if you're a UIUC student and you didn't vote, you're a fool. he who would surrender any of his liberties does not deserve to have them and all that. yeah. you go, girl! I think there's a blood drive over at the union this week, and if so that's cause to celebrate. come on, people, drain yourselves. time to separate the vampires from the pasty-faced suburbanite wannabes!

why, just look at all the good it's done for me.

baked (not fried), "What About Bob?", finishing classes at 10:30am, free wood chips, karmic justice.
wankers who eat five slices of pizza at the midnight sale and cause all the pizza to be gone by the time real fans show up, places that require the actual coupon for the discount, senile quiz writers.

September 29, 1997 apologies to all who received an idiotic chain letter from my little brother (who is currently using the aqueduct@wwa.com address). I had nothing to do with it. his account access has been temporarily revoked. should you a) seek good luck b) worry about your love life/size of your organs or c) desire to express solidarity with other "children of the 80's", those of you who were victimized by his little episode hereby have my permission to spam the little bugger. dig? ok.

I had a good day today. I'm not sure what was so good about it, but it was nice. I outmanuevered Canon and IBM tech support and fixed my new printer by myself this morning, missing a class in the process which means I'm less of a person now. in pointlessly distant news, it appears as though I'll be taking a class over the summer in the first session (from may 15 to june 15). UIUC students - take action today and tomorrow, vote against the proposed $68 athletic fee in the student union or at the illini orange. democracy is ace and the concept that the bullshit racist (down with the chief!) football program has a single thing to do with a quality education is ridiculous. let memorial stadium rot, we can turn it into a playground when the walls are finished crumbling down.

Kurt Vonnegut in Chicago on friday october third! take notice! make travel plans now! in tangentially related news, the movie "Footloose" is on TV right now and it's just great. I think we should be allowed to dance, damn it. who's with me? and, finally, I ended my 24-hour fast in protest of death a few minutes ago. it was a rousing success - I haven't seen a dead person all day. next up - fasting to protest entropy! who's with me?


update: just as soon as I finished uploading this page, I discovered that Roy Lichtenstein died today. was my anti-death fast the only thing keeping him alive? how many more will die because of my consumption of food? crap.

cool wind through my window, free pizza at Record Service at the midnight sales, all-night grocery stores
violent dusty wind while walking outside, 2-for-1 sales on deceptively old bread, rice-a-roni that keeps burning.

September 27, 1997 yesterday I didn't feel well. today, however, I'm at peak performance. so far. although I just yawned, so I don't know. I had a bowl of Lucky Charms this morning. they have apparently introduced a new innovation: "swirled" colours on the marshmallows. man, the things those wacky underpaid starving malaysian factory workers come up with! neverending fonts of inspiration. I think I'll probably have something else next time, though.

words from Kurt Vonnegut, courtesy of Svetlana:
(excerpt from an NPR interview) "You remember the mathematician who said that a group of monkeys locked in a room with typewriters would eventually write the works of Shakespeare?" (at this point all of the cognoscenti who listen to NPR nod sagely) "Well the World Wide Web proves that to be false."

this web page alone is incontrovertible proof, I think.

this morning I awoke early (well, before noon) and purchased David Bowie tickets for october 17th in chicago. rah! I played in a vampire live-action game last night. strangely enough, my entire recollection of the event is indistinguishable from an episode of "Jim's Journal", from the art to the words. so if you're wondering exactly what I did last night, look it up in your local bookstore under "Jim". today, I'm not sure. if I can find the armanents, something definitely needs to be done about the currently rampaging greek system down here. several thousand cave men and women in mating season is not a pretty sight.

q-tips, John Cusack, movies with a 90-minute running time, inexpensive chinese vegetable dishes.
people who refuse to evolve, the short shelf life of the average banana.

September 26, 1997 I was walking to class today (wipe that surprised look off your face) down Armory Street (named after, yes, the huge armory that resides on that street, and if you stand there very quiet some nights you can almost hear the ghosts of drunk hicks running around in there looking for their shotguns to protect their moonshine with) today when I noticed that someone had carved "down with the man" in the sidewalk in front of a church. I wondered first if that was necessarily the most effective way to communicate with The Man, and then it occured to me that perhaps concrete itself is The Man, that there's another side to it that we're either not noticing or not perceiving because it doesn't want us to, because in urban settings it is truly all-pervasive and urbanization is swallowing the entire globe at a very rapid rate. run to Antarctica, now! but then, supposedly there are aliens underneath all of that ice, and one hundred years of hollywood cinema have taught me, if nothing else, to fear aliens. and then, in another moment, I completely forgot that entire train of thought because it was early in the morning and I'm rather dumb if you catch me before noon or so (the only reason I remembered it is because I walked by the same carving on the way home).

wednesday I joined in on an anti-Chief Illiniwek meeting being held by the PAR/PRC (I forget the address of their web page, otherwise I'd link to it and look like a clever little multimedia monkey) and we all agreed that we were right and the College Republicans are now and ever shall be wrong. it was a rather well-organized meeting, actually. wednesdays at 7:30 pm at the Illinois Disciples Foundation on Springfield and Wright, if you're a CU-located type. not much else has happened over the last couple of days. I tried in vain to find plain black sweatpants but was treated like a freak for not wanting to plaster illini logos all over my legs. who knows, maybe they had a point. Tom and I were going to riot at a bookstore's stereotyping of plastic-americans, a much abused group, but then we didn't, because we suck.

in an effort to boost my ratings, I am hereby announcing that I will be existing live, without tape delay, all of saturday the 27th of september. you never know what might happen! this is the real thing, folks!

sleeping on my couch, cheese sandwiches, air circulation, the rise and fall of Marv Albert, motion.
conversations about alcohol, capitalism on the internet, "finding the sex in every scene".

September 23, 1997 have you ever tried to imagine an actual conversation occuring with answers and questions from Jeopardy?

Terrence: What is a bikini?
Phillip: Well, the United States conducted their first atomic detonation in that atoll.
Terrence: Oh, okay. Let's go get wasted.

I don't know why every single time I write a new page it ends up being finished some time after 2 am and I do a hasty job polishing it off and uploading it. antipathy from a certain deity, perhaps. a few minor things have been fixed and added here and on the feature and link pages. no one notices these things except me, I think. you know, every single teenager/young adult ever featured on MTV is a blithering idiot. the link-adventurous are advised that a handful of other web types updated their pages today. the entertainment doesn't end here, folks!

not much was done today. a violent debate between two ends of my schizophrenia over rain and the value of grad school led to me skipping class and going back to sleep. Henry and Tom surveyed the security points of various campus locales for anti-Chief protests to come at a later date while I stalked trustees around the Union and gave them the evil eye. as for the rest of the night, who knows? who cares? temperature decline ("pressure drop, oh pressure...") continues, which is good. what to do, what to do?

important notes: firstly, the new and possibly final Kurt Vonnegut novel was released yesterday. the man remains the best writer alive and you would do well to pick up a copy unless he is coming to a bookstore within a 300 mile radius of you, in which case you are expected to go meet him. October 3rd in Chicago he will be as will Rory and I. secondly, Chuck is not well. please do not email him with provocative thoughts and comments because he has been alerted that his spleen may, in fact, burst. so please be careful.

sunflower seeds, sodium, midnight sales with pizza from Bjork and Stereolab, Matt Pinfield.
petty attempts by academia to get me out of bed before 9 am, unadorned salads from Blimpie.

September 22, 1997 down by the seaside, ten smiles in a row. but the dirty dishes remain... so the new page is done. like it? I hope. it's been a rather relaxed creation, actually, although no schoolwork has been done since I began work on it. I guess I can't entirely blame the web page for that. after a trip to Perkins in order to find some ice cream to alleviate nasty stomach hissing, I sit here following my nightly routine typing away and watching late night TV. it occurs to me that I never find myself in bar brawls anymore. I want to be the thin, crazy guy who comes leaping down from the bar with a maniacal look on his face and tackles a few people. the fact that I hate bars might be at least partly responsible, but that's no excuse. life is so unfair. why do the networks choose to subject me to endless psychic phone talk commercials? plenty of good, decent people are up late trying to find worthwhile entertainment. ah, the chocolate-covered injustice of it all. hello to the new entity, goodbye to Outside the Asylum, you did well, I'll miss you, cha cha boom. updates arriving soon, so open your eyes every once in awhile. and don't forget to update your own page. dammit. raves: Coolio, ice cream, WEFT 90.1 FM, weather cooling off. distastes: soup with chicken in it that doesn't admit that in big letters on the front.

September 21, 1997 static from nothingness
(from inception to finished product and all of the staring off into space inbetween: the days and times of some guy, namely me, trying to put together a web page)

The last update was in February, I think. I don't remember precisely. Either way, restlessness had set in and I decided that it was time to change everything again. Generally, I sit there and reload the first page of my homepage until I'm good and sick of it - until the minor flaws become glaring and dwarf whatever good bits may be there, and then I can't stand to look at it again until the entire thing's been redone. A bit extreme, but effective. It was particularly easy this time because I'm now viewing everything with my new laptop (sold the old computer to my mother and used the proceeds to buy young Marvn of Wales Jr.) which does 800x600 resolution (as opposed to the old one's 1024x768), and I realized that the page didn't look particularly good if you didn't have the exact same setup that I did when I designed it. Things didn't fit like they were meant to, and the font I used for the menu logos kind of grates after awhile. Add that to my growing belief that frames have been played out, and it was time for a change. So...

September 10th I was watching TV and Mariah Carey's "Honey" video came on and induced vomiting, so I turned it off (actually, I probably just switched it to VH-1) and began going through all the HTML files for the old page, first backing them up to disk for history's sake and then deleting about half of them. I went through the rest of them and started editing them. Usually at this point I leave the pages more or less the same and concentrate on finding all the hidden jokes and deciding which ones just aren't funny anymore. This time, though, I just deleted everything. It was time to make an entirely new page - despite its compatibility flaws, the last version of Outside the Asylum had gone pretty much as far as it could go. Besides, you have to stop those version numbers somewhere. "Outside the Asylum with Marc Heiden 14.1" was bound to not be very good. I considered "Asylum '97", but a) Microsoft jokes are lame and b) there are getting to be far too many pages out there with "Asylum" in the title (I even found another "Outside the Asylum", though it was a downright normal page). Thus, a New Thing was born. Once nearly everything was deleted, I threw up a skeleton menu of links between pages to make bouncing back and forth simple and then left it alone.

It's a fine line between clever and stupid, really." - Spinal Tap

September 14th The new design finally struck me. I try not to think about it directly - usually, something just occurs to me during class or when I'm watching a movie, but never when I'm trying to come up with it. I knew I wanted to do something fairly minimalist this time, and I wanted to get away from cluttered background textures that made the words a pain to read (and my page generally lives and dies by the words, well, those and the frog picture). I had started experimenting with the TABLE tag last time out, so I started making everything into a table and began slapping together the background textures, smoothing things out and making sweet love by the fire. Instead of the pseudo-pretentious rambling that ends up as the finished products, I should release the temporary paragraphs that I write to fill space. Those get downright weird sometimes.

The "November Rain" video is on right now. It's my favorite video of all time. It just cracks me up. The wedding cake falls on her head at the end and that's how she dies, I think. Either way, it's just great.

September 15th Still screwing around. Most of the work at this point consists of struggling to come up with variations on the design theme. Graphic design isn't my strength, but I think it turned out OK. No words yet. I think it was tonight that I wound up sitting through two hours of VH-1's "Behind the Music" while I did web coding. The respective sagas of Milli Vanilli and Boy George may have indirectly influenced certain areas of this page - don't say I didn't warn you.

"I'll Be Missing You" is the #3 video of the 90's? MY ASS! A touching tribute to the Notorious BIG by a bunch of people who cared about him so much that they didn't even bother to write a new song?!?! I'm going to have to disagree with MTV on this one. "Sabotage" as the #2 video, though, that I can't disagree with. Not that I'm a Beastie Boys fan, but it's a great video. They should let Beavis talk along with it - that improves it substantially. If "Song #2" is the #1 video, I'll be unusually pleased. My hopes are not high, though, since they're generally not referred to as "an influential trio from Seattle".

September 16th Most of the backgrounds are finished. Today's viewing is a biopic of Marilyn Monroe starring Mira Sorvino. What effect this has upon the work done, I'm not sure. I decided to make "home" the main page and put an intro page before everything else to explain compatibility - I knew already that I didn't have the attention span to recode everything for non-table browsers, so it was more or less a disclaimer for primitives who were wondering why it looked strange. It was also a good place to used the cow picture. Originally the entire background was going to be alternating black and white lines with subliminal messages all over the place and only one or two lines of readable text, but it ended up being more interesting in concept than execution. Once the basic design was done, I started the slow writing process. I decided to keep a few of the pictures - the screaming heads, the ever-popular frog, and the bio page picture, which I just couldn't bear to let go of. It's so...accurate! At this point I'm rather pleased with the way it looks.

September 17-19th This is when the unpleasant bit begins - I start getting sick of looking at the new pages before they're even completed and wonder if it's worth going on with. Kind of like struggling with suicide, except not really. Updating the links, finding new ones, rewriting old stuff, designing a couple new pages (like the archives page). Most of the work consist of pushing text back and forth, adding and subtracting line breaks, and other equally earth-shaking stuff. I've ended up not ditching everything from the last page - the MangoJam page, for example, which I forgot about until the last minute, just got a slight rewrite. The credits page was new, so it stayed similar. Octavio Julio Soldavilla Y Rodriguez got his sorry ass kicked out of here, but you never know when he may pop up again. The bio page is fairly similar too, although I cut it down a bit cos it was getting out of control earlier. A tendency of mine when doing this sort of thing is emerging again - the witty bits get these dark, moody background/text combinations and the bitter, sarcastic stuff gets the bright, happy ones. I'm always doing that, moreso this time out than before. Several hundred music videos later...

September 20th It comes together into what you see here now. This is when it becomes entertaining again - I can run around and start hiding jokes and erasing the test paragraphs. The majority of the work consists of finding spaces where I could put something strange, and the non sequitur follows naturally and often instantly. Heh. There's an oxymoron calling for you on line 1, sir. A lot more screwing around with different fonts and font colors this time around - last time I made logos with Paint Shop Pro, but this was much easier. I probably would have finished it today (viewing: "Back To The Future III") but I ended up having dinner at the Peking Garden courtesy of the Pattee family and then working at WEFT (Radio Champaign 90.1 FM) until 4:30am and then chatting with tow companies about getting people out of my parking spot.

September 21st The page is done. All that remains is to tweak a few things and write the "home" page text once I've come up with a name. Candidates are still floating around as I write this: "the Holy Bible" (courtesy of Rory Leahy), "Morality, Truth, and God", "Star Wars Master Edition", "Yes, You Can Have a Dollar", "Not Inside the Nuthouse", "The Heiden Family Home Page", and "Poop". Haven't chosen yet, but I should have by the time you read this. And the winner is...?

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


January 2012, December 2011, January 2011, September 2010, August 2010, June 2010, March 2010, October 2009, February 2009, January 2009, September 2008, August 2008, March 2008, February 2008, October 2007, July 2007, June 2007, January 2007, September 2006, July 2006, June 2006, January 2006, December 2005, September 2005, August 2005, July 2005, June 2005, May 2005, March 2005, February 2005, January 2005, December 2004, October 2004, July 2004, June 2004, May 2004, April 2004, February 2004, January 2004, December 2003, November 2003, October 2003, September 2003, August 2003, July 2003, June 2003, May 2003, April 2003, March 2003, February 2003, January 2003, December 2002, November 2002, October 2002, September 2002, August 2002, July 2002, June 2002, May 2002, April 2002, March 2002, February 2002, January 2002, December 2001, November 2001, October 2001, September 2001, August 2001, July 2001, December 1999, November 1999, October 1999, May 1999, February 1999, January 1999, December 1998, November 1998, October 1998, June 1998, May 1998, April 1998, March 1998, February 1998, December 1997, November 1997, October 1997, September 1997, and the uncategorised wilderness of the Beelzetron era: 010622 - 010619, 010615 - 010611, 010608 - 010604, 010601 - 010529, 010525 - 010521, 010518 - 010514, 010511 - 010507, 010504 - 010430, 010427 - 010423, 010420 - 010416, 010413 - 010409, 010406 - 010402, 010330 - 010326, 010323 - 010319, 010316 - 010312, 010309 - 010307, 019223 - 010219, 010216 - 010212, 010209 - 010205, 010202 - 010109, 010126 - 010122, 010119 - 010115, 010112 - 010108, 010105 - 010102, 001229 - 001224, 001222 - 001218, 001215 - 001211, 001208 - 001204, 001201 - 001124, 001124 - 001120, 001117 - 001113, 001110 - 001106, 001103 - 001030, 001027 - 001023, 001020 - 001016, 001013 - 001010, 001006 - 000927.

Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.